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Strike Wolf (Family Computer Clones)

The reviews on this site are the text versions of the videos on my YouTube channel. The text based reviews use (if at all) very little pictures. Please follow the link to the corresponding video in order to see in game graphics.

Strike Wolf was made in 1992 by TXC for the Micro Genius series of Nintendo Family Computer clones. It is one of the very few NES games which measure the Y screen position with the zapper. Another game which does this is Lethal Weapon, which I reviewed in episode 18. I have heard Strike Wolf was sold together with the Micro Genius TLG-405 Uzi like looking light gun.

In the game’s story the player is held prison by a group of terrorists. As someone approaches the player to apply a threatening looking syringe, the player manages to slip the handcuffs and fight the way out. The player then goes on to stop the terrorists.

The player uses a semiautomatic gun with infinite capacity but limited stock of ammunition. Special controller inputs allow the player throwing grenades, or firing shots at the last hit position. For this purpose light guns with additional buttons such as the Bandai Hyper Shot and the Micro Genius TLG-405 are supposed to be used. If the player chooses to utilize a zapper type light gun instead, the zapper has to be inserted to port two, while a game pad is connected in port one. The A button will then shoot normal bullets at the last hit position and the B button fires grenades.

The game consists of 6 levels, which are all concluded in a boss fight. The first level is an arsenal. The second level is a desert. The next level is located in an ammunition depot. The fourth level takes the player to an airport. Level five is an airfield. The last level takes place at a harbor.

Some enemies fire toxic black clouds towards the player. Once hit, the health bar will steadily decrease until the player is dead, or managed to pick up an antidote. The player may pick up gas masks which protect against these clouds. Besides health, ammunition and grenade pickups, there is an item which grants unlimited ammunition during a short time. Unlimited continues allow the player to retry every level from the beginning with restocked ammunition and grenades.

The bosses must be shot at weak spots and are invulnerable otherwise. There is quite a variety of bosses ranging from humans, over small vehicles to huge machines.

As told in the beginning of this video, the hit detection is very special in this game. Upon shooting the screen turns white for two frames. The gun then detects the Y position of the screen. The game then sends a white bar to this position which traverses frame by frame X sections of the screen. If the gun detects the white bar, the bar stops moving and a hit is detected in this field. This method effectively divides the screen into hit box sections. A better known light gun game which divides the screen into tiles more noticeably is Snatcher made by Konami.

Personally I really like the game. The music and the graphics are very good. To me the way the game handles its hit detection is nothing short of amazing. Compared to Lethal Weapon the difficulty is less balanced in my opinion though and therefore I like it less. I would say the game is a notch too hard.

The label looks outstanding and is artfully drawn. My acknowledgement goes to Javier Coy for allowing me to show this cartridge from his outstanding collection. A link to his YouTube channel can be found in the video description.

The cartridge I played for this review was custom made for me by the Modern Retro Gaming Alliance short MRGA. I deal with custom gaming hardware from all around the word on a regular basis for several years now. In my personal opinion the MRGA is the number one competence in retro gaming. I contacted them via their facebook page and I recommend everybody with complex custom needs to do so too.